Have you ever been to an escape room? Do you even know what one is? If you don’t, watch this short video. Like most of you, I knew what an escape room was but I had never been to one. Until yesterday.
A couple of months ago, a friend asked me if I had ever taken my kids to an escape room. I told her I hadn’t, and she suggested that they might have fun if I did. Like I said. I had never been to an escape room before, but I had created an image in my mind of the types of people who did, you know, folks like Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj. I certainly didn’t think my kids would like it.
Because I had already decided to do a summer series on fun things to do with your kids, I decided to give it a try. Knowing that More Love Mama would be the brains of the operation, I selected my two oldest kids, who are 10 and 12 to join us. I borrowed my friend’s two oldest sons, who are about the same age as mine, to round out the group. and the six of us set out into uncharted waters. I had absolutely no idea what to expect.
We chose Escape Now for our first ever escape room visit. Escape Now is located in Cypress, Texas and is less than half an hour drive from my house. There are five rooms at Escape Now and each one has a different theme. My kids love Harry Potter, so I selected the room Wizards and Dragons for our attempted escape.
What Happens When You Are At Escape Now
When we arrived at Escape Now, we were met by Jessica, our host, guide, and game master. The first thing she did was explain that our session would be one hour and that we really should go to the bathroom. We listened to her and when we had completed that task, she gathered us around the door to our room, Wizards and Dragons.
Jessica explained a couple of rules to us, and prepared us for what we could expect. She also showed us a couple of special locks and demonstrated how they worked, which is a good thing because I had never seen these types of locks before, and I doubt I would have ever been able to figure them out. Don’t worry, the locks were used to seal clues, not the door.
After setting the scene and giving us our final instructions, Jessica locked us in our room, set the timer, and went to the control room where she became the game master for our room.
While in the control room, Jessica watched and listened to us as we attempted to find and solve the clues that would provide us with the combination to the lock on the escape room door. That’s the goal of the game, discover possible clues, solve the riddles, and find the combination to unlock the door and escape.
If you suddenly need out of the game, there are emergency exits and you can leave any time.There’s no reason to worry about actually getting trapped.
Once you are locked in your escape room, there are no more directions. You have to look for clues. Each clue is a riddle or puzzle that leads you to more clues that are riddles and puzzles and this goes on and on until you finally solve the clue that leads to your escape or you run out of time.
In the end, you either escape or you don’t.
Clues and Competition
Escape Now has a leader board of those impressive groups who have managed to escape in the least amount of time. If you are an expert escapee, your time and ranking will be posted on their leader board which is updated daily. We did not threaten anyone’s status on that board.
If you want to qualify for the leader board you are only allowed three Clues from the game master. If you don’t mind living forever in anonymity you can ask for more clues. Note: these escape rooms are no joke when it comes to difficulty and there is no shame in asking for clues. Jessica was very good about offering us clues when it was clear to her that we were off on some dirt road with no hopes of finding the highway.
At first I was reluctant to ask for clues, but eventually, we realized that we had better start asking for clues. By then we weren’t worried about any stinking leader board, we were just desperate to escape!
Did We Get Out?
The average escape rate at Escape Now is around 30%. Given that we had never done this before, our chances of escape were pretty close to nil, and we didn’t disappoint. Time ran out on us when we are about 75% of the way there. So no, we did not get out, but honestly, if we had I might have been less impressed. The fact is, Escape Rooms are very challenging and I think that’s what makes them so addictive. I was proud of how many clues the kids, More Love Mama, and I, were able to solve and it made me want to go and try again.
There is something about trying and failing that makes us want to try again and again until we succeed. I think that’s what makes escape rooms like Escape Now so popular.
Going in, we had no clue what to expect. Our room, Wizards and Dragons, was surprisingly technical. There is a lot of thought, detail, and technology that goes into developing and creating these rooms. The setting, construction and props were more intricate than I expected. There were more clues than I had expected and they were difficult, but fair. I was impressed by Jessica’s professionalism. She knew when we needed clues and made sure that we had an awesome experience.
Would I Do It Again?
Absolutely! In a heartbeat! I wasn’t a natural, but is was fun watching More Love Mama and the kids solve the clues and their eyes light up when they got something right.
One of the cool things was at the end of the game, Jessica showed us what was still needed to be accomplished in order to escape from Wizards and Dragons. We were pretty close. Giving us the solution, only encouraged us to want to play in one of the other four rooms at Escape Now sometime in the future.
Did the Kids Enjoy It?
I chose the kids from my family who I thought were old enough and would enjoy this type of activity. The same with my friend’s sons. In the future I would like my youngest daughter to try an escape room because I think it would totally suit her personality. I didn’t take her this time because she’s only seven, but next year Kat, I’m taking you and we are going to win!
Would I recommend Escape Now To My Friends With Kids?
Yes, but only if you think your kids would enjoy an activity that requires a lot of concentration, problem solving, and imagination. You know what kind of kid I’m talking about. Of my six kids, I’d say two of them are future escape room junkies, two might enjoy giving it a try, and two wouldn’t last ten minutes in an escape room before asking when they could leave. Hey, it takes all types. If one or more of your kids fit the description of someone who might like to try an escape room, give it a try. Summer is long. Your kids could use some enrichment activities.
Some Tips I Learned
Now that I have experienced playing an escape room with kids, I have a few tips that should make our experience even better:
- Give everyone a task or clue to solve.
- Make sure the kids are helping and the adults are not taking over.
- Constantly encourage your kids and compliment them when they solve a clue.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for clues early on. If you are stuck don’t wait 30 minutes to ask for your first clue.
- Everything can be a clue, don’t discount something that looks like a mere prop.
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t escape. You are in the majority, 70% of the players don’t escape from the room that we played, and the majority of them are adults. Most of the people who have escaped have played before.
Find an Escape Room Near You
There are escape rooms all over the country. They are gaining in popularity which means more and more of them are opening up everywhere. If you live in the Houston area I would highly recommend you visiting Escape Now. If you live somewhere else, here is a map of escape rooms all over the U.S. I’ll bet there is one near you.
Be sure to check and be sure that the game you want to play is suitable for children. Even though, all games at Escape Now are children friendly, some escape rooms are too scary or otherwise geared for adults.
You Deserve a Break Today
The summer is long and hot. Are your kids already getting on your nerves because they are bored? You owe it to yourself, and your kids, to take an opportunity to get out of the house, exercise your brain, and have a lot of fun. Go try an escape room near you, and if you are anywhere near Houston, go by and visit Escape Now!
Brian at Daddy go To Timeout
Who Wants To Win 2 Free Passes To Escape Now!
If you live in or near the Houston area, you can win two free passes valued at $50 to play the room of your choice at Escape Now! I will have a contest starting Saturday, June 8th. and will announce the rules and eligibility for the contest in my newsletter, Timeout. So, if you haven’t signed up for Timeout, you can do it by clicking below and filling out a very easy form. I mean it’s so easy, even my dog Molili could fill it out………if he had an email account…….and opposable thumbs.
Anyway, you really do want to sign up for Timeout. because that’s where I post recipes, have giveaways, and give my subscribers bonus material not available to just any Tom, Dick, and Hannah!
So, sign up below!